Characters and stories come in strange ways. “Mattie Hornbecker’s Other Bag” (short story) evolved from a bird-shaped sweat-stain on the back of a cyclist—and Jacob Maresbeth Chronicles was born of exam-induced stress dreams.
It was a cold day in late November, after leaves and before snow: the perfect setting for a class on gothic novels. I was a graduate student then, and we were plotting to convince the prof that exams should be foregone in favor of fiction writing. Why not? We were discussing vampire stories; wouldn’t it be a better test of our ability to write our own? Not surprisingly, the professor didn’t see it that way. Ah well, I thought. Worth a shot. I went home that night with plenty of studying to do, little suspecting that an idea had taken hold in my subconscious.
Sometime late that night, I found myself dreaming television. It’s boring, really… Insipid dramas and highly suspicious CSI episodes. But you can’t change the channel on dream-TV, so I watched. And there he was: a young man, cajoled by his obnoxious aunt and annoying sister, desperately trying to escape the house for some night air… as a vampire. Exactly what Freud would make of this, I have no idea (even though we were studying him in class, too). Regardless, I awoke with twitching fingers and thought of nothing else all day long. That next evening, I scurried home, dumped my books, and wrote from dinner till 2am. Jacob Maresbeth was born. [READ MORE]
PS: if you want to hear more about that bird-shaped stain and Mattie Hornbecker, leave a comment. 😉